ISLAMABAD: Over 200 prominent Indian writers including Arundhati Roy have signed a joint petition against the politics of hate being pursued by Bharatiya Janata Party and have urged voters to defeat the BJP in upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India.
According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), the writers who also include Girish Karnad, Amitabh Ghosh, Nayantara Sahgal, Jeet Thayil, Romila Thapar and Vivek Shanbhag in the petition posted on the website of Indian Cultural Forum, read, “The upcoming election finds our country at the crossroads. Our Constitution guarantees all its citizens equal rights, the freedom to eat, pray and live as they choose, freedom of expression and the right to dissent. But in the last few years, we have seen citizens being lynched or assaulted or discriminated against because of their community, caste, gender, or the region they come from.”
“Hate politics has been used to divide the country; create fear; and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens. Writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural practitioners have been hounded, intimidated, and censored. Anyone who questions the powers-that-be is in danger of being harassed or arrested on false and ridiculous charges,” the petition said.
The joint petition further said, “The first step, the one we can take soon, is to vote out hate politics. Vote out the division of our people; vote out inequality; vote against violence, intimidation and censorship. …This is why we appeal to all citizens to vote for a diverse and equal India.”
The writers said that they did not want ‘rationalists, writers and activists to be hounded or assassinated.’
“We want resources and measures for jobs, education, research, healthcare and equal opportunities for all,” the petition added.
India goes to polls in seven phases, starting 11 April with the counting scheduled for 23 May.